Adult caregivers are expected to play diverse roles in bringing up the developing child, which involves fulfilling children’s needs of growing complexity and going through a series of major adjustments. Consisting of the “affectionate care, attention, and protection,” the nurturing role requires parents to change approaches and the areas of emphasis as the child grows (Gestwicki, 2016, p. 51). In early life stages, such as infancy, the required nurturing care heavily relies on creating optimal physical conditions for children’s future healthy development. These include stress factors’ minimization, proper sleep/feeding schedules, and safety inspection endeavors (World Health Organization, 2018). Next, during toddlerhood, nurturing should involve extensive play and exercise to enable the child to learn by imitation and follow simple directions in a psychologically supportive environment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Therefore, the child’s changing cognitive and socio-emotional needs encourage regular nurturing-related adjustments initiated by both parents and child development professionals.
In the developmental stages following toddlerhood, nurturing care becomes even more oriented toward cognitive progress and healthy socialization. In the pre-school period, the growing learners’ increasing speech development capacity and the thirst for independence change the nature of nurturing by maximizing its early learning and responsive care domains (WHO, 2018). With pre-school children, the necessary care extends beyond safety to emphasize psycho-emotional support, teaching the values of friendship, demonstrating clarity and justice in disciplining, and sparking an interest in learning and exploration (CDC, 2021). Aside from being around to maximize the child’s safety in various environments, nurturing should involve encouraging the child’s attempts to establish emotional connections outside of the family. Ideally, parental presence to answer the growing children’s increasingly complex questions about the world and society should supplement efforts to address their emotional crises and negative reactions to various circumstances.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Positive parenting tips. Web.
Gestwicki, C. (2016). Home, school, and community relations (9th ed.) Cengage Learning.
World Health Organization. (2018). Nurturing care for early childhood development: A global framework for action and results. Web.